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moral rule

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E thics A general statement guiding action and feeling by characterizing certain kinds of action, such as telling the truth or stealing, as generally right or generally wrong. Moral rules are distinguished from moral principles , which underlie moral rules, justify their validity, and clarify their scope of application. While moral rules are specific and concrete , moral principles are general and abstract. While moral rules are variable, moral principles hold in all circumstances. Moral principles are used to justify rules and to generate new rules to cope with unforeseen circumstances. Rules are more directly involved than principles in determining the morality of behavior. The elaboration of a consistent and intelligible body of moral principles and rules is the central task of an ethical theory. “A moral rule states that a certain kind of action is generally right (or obligatory), and leaves open the possibility that an act (or omission) of that kind may be justifiable.” M. Singer, Generalization in Ethics ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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